[Sinn Fein]

17 April 2001

Mayor of Sligo to host major economic and infrastructure Cross-border conference for North West

The Mayor of Sligo, Sinn Fein Alderman Sean MacManus is to host a major cross-border conference in Sligo on Tuesday May 15th in an initiative designed to develop and harness the full economic and infrastructural potential of the north west. Amongst those invited to attend the conference, which will take place in City Hall Sligo, are the Mayors and chairpersons of Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan and Donegal County Councils, Fermanagh, Derry, Strabane and Omagh District Councils as well as a number of guest speakers who will address the conference and who will be announced at a later date.

Mayor MacManus said:

``The north west region of Ireland, both in this state and in the 6-counties, has yet to achieve its full potential either economically, infrastructurally or politically. With different counties vying against each other for support and investment and given the difficulties and duplication created by partition and the absence of any long term governmental strategy, the result has been a piecemeal approach to the development of the region. As a result, it is local communities, local businesses and the entire region that suffers as the economic and infrastructural imbalance between the East and the West coast widens even further.''

``With the ongoing all-Ireland developments, there is now a real opportunity for this region, which has been neglected for far too long by successive Irish and British governments, to benefit from the peace dividend and the current bouyancy in the 26-county economy. However, to successfully capitalise on and achieve the full potential of the situation, it is clear that we need a co-ordinated approach from all the counties within the region with clearly stated objectives.

``It is with this goal in mind that this initiative has been undertaken. This will see all the leaders of all the local authorities in this entire region on both sides of the border sitting down together, discussing and focussing in on the problems that we all face in this region and devising a strategy to tackle these shortcomings and enhance the economic and infrastructural development of the north west.''

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